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Bluetooth Connected Down-Light Mobile Application

ETi is a subsidiary of Elec-Tech International, a listed company (002005) on the Shenzhen Stock Market. Elec-Tech is a large-scale manufacturer with extensive engineering resources including one of the largest installations of MOCVD reactors. ETi now operates 20 wholly owned and holding enterprises with a global employee base of more than 15,000 associates. In addition, ETI operates seven research & development and production bases – located in Zhuhai, Wuhu, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, Dalian, Yangzhou and Bengbu. With more than 765 patents, ETi is well positioned to participate in the $22.1 billion global lighting industry. Its America’s division, markets an extensive line of solid-state lighting/LED lamps, tubes, and fixtures to industrial, commercial and retail channels.

The Value

Through a combination of strategic consulting and development expertise OST was able to help ETI navigate a number of difficult
constraints to release Android and iOS applications on time and on budget. And in the end, ETI is positioned to successfully release and
support their new Bluetooth based lighting platform, which ushers in a new focus on software products for this forward thinking solid-state lighting company.

 

The Challenge

ETI Solid State Lighting is a Hong Kong based solid-state lighting company that supplies lighting products to a number of vendors and big-box stores in the United States and around the world. ETI came to OST with an idea for a Bluetooth-connected lighting product, which marked their first venture into the software controlled connected device market. With a number of other lighting companies competing in this space, ETI needed to get to market quickly with a simple to use and cost effective product that was targeted at North American consumers.

 
 

The Solution

Recognizing our experience in the development of Bluetooth Low Energy (a.k.a. Bluetooth Smart) mobile applications, ETI brought OST on board to begin vetting their current approach and lighting technology. Through a combination of detailed technical analysis and user-focused requirements gathering OST was able to quickly determine that the current Bluetooth chipset ETI was using could not provide an optimal user experience for the application’s features. OST recommended implementing a more robust mesh protocol, which would improve the range, performance, and reliability of ETI’s lighting products. OST then performed proof of concept work that helped identify the CSR Mesh platform as a viable technology for ETI’s needs. From there OST proceeded to work closely with a new firmware vendor to ensure that ETI’s lighting hardware could be engineered to work on the CSR Mesh platform in a timely manner.
 
The approach for the first release of ETI’s lighting companion applications was focused on getting a base level of functionality to
market as quickly as possible given the production timeline that was already in motion for these lights. The ability to release the initial app on both iOS and Android was key to ETI’s goal of reaching a broad consumer market. ETI also needed to work within certain budget constraints to make sure this could be a profitable first endeavor into Bluetooth connected lighting. To this end, ETI and OST made the decision to purchase existing Android and iOS light control applications from ETI’s firmware vendor in hopes of jump-starting the development process. OST worked with ETI to mitigate the risks of inheriting this code base and to quickly make sure this foreign developed code could be built, maintained, and extended by a team of U.S. developers.
 
Over the course of the next six weeks, OST worked with ETI staff and design partners to re-think the front-end implementation, design, and user experience of the apps, while also ensuring solid back-end performance of the Bluetooth mesh communications used to control the lights. OST worked with ETI to make informed decisions on features such as over-the-air updates, mesh security, user onboarding, and app store distribution as well as numerous other key application considerations. The goal in all of these considerations was to stay focused on releasing a minimally viable product on time and on budget while also laying a solid foundation for ETI’s longer-term goals for the product.
 
OST also worked to help ETI to begin thinking and operating like a software company as well as the lighting company they had always
been. This meant coaching ETI staff on topics around source code ownership that would help the company become better informed and more self-sufficient as they entered a new world of connected lighting products and the implications that has around building and supporting companion software applications.